UK employees feel more pressured at work, and less secure in their jobs than at any other time in the past 20 years.
That’s according to the latest Skills and Employment Survey (SES), funded by the Economics and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).
The main findings of the report, carried out by research staff from Oxford and Cardiff universities, were:
· In 2012, just under a third of employees in the public sector (31%) were anxious about unfair treatment at work.
· More than half of all employees in the public sector (52%) reported being anxious about loss of status in their work. In past surveys fear of job losses, or of unfair treatment at work, were felt more keenly by employees in the private sector.
· While men are traditionally more worried about losing their job than women, the increase in concern about job losses in recent years has been felt most keenly among female employees.
One of the most striking findings of the research is the increasing pressure on public sector workers, who have traditionally felt more secure in their work than their private sector counterparts.
Public sector employees, often regarded as being in jobs for life by their private sector colleagues, are becoming increasingly concerned about the security of their jobs, and the loss of status that can be a result of redundancy.
The survey found that, even where public sector employees are not concerned about the loss of their jobs, they are concerned about the potential for a reduction in their working hours, or salaries, as their employers negotiate new working contracts.
As employees agree to new shift patterns or to a reduction in hours, one might argue that a that this maintains employment for more people. However, this often leaves a greater number of employees feeling anxious about unfair treatment at work, or worse still, undervalued in their positions.
Francis Green, Professor of Work and Education at the Institute of Education (IOE), which hosted the survey, said: “Since the start of the recession, the growth of fear not only of employment loss but of unfair treatment and loss of status was particularly strong in the public sector.
“Attention should be paid to the deteriorating climate of employee relations in this area,” he added. The survey was hosted by the Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES) at the IOE. The full findings of the survey can be found at: http://www.llakes.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/4.-Fear-at-Work-in-Britain-mini-report.pdf.